St. Marys River Bridge at St. George

(John H. Hendricks photo, 2013)

About 80 miles upstream from the coastal town of St. Marys, Norfolk Southern trains cross the St. Marys River, and the state line, on this sturdy plate-girder bridge set in one of the watercourse's numerous meanders. Because steamboats could not navigate this far up, the structure is fixed, with no draw span or other accommodation for tall vessels present or needed.

NS predecessor Atlantic Valdosta & Western first crossed here in 1899 as it built a line from Valdosta to Jacksonville. Three years later the AV&W became part of the Georgia Southern & Florida, a subsidiary of Southern Railway. SR became NS in 1982.

Downstream are two other rail crossings: CSX (former Atlantic Coast Line), south of Folkston, and First Coast Railroad (former Seaboard Air Line) south of Kingsland. Upstream is a second crossing by the same NS line pictured here. It was necessitated by the AV&W's decision to build across Georgia's "toe," which is formed by the river's overall south-to-east-to-north-to-east course to the Atlantic.

(For more photos and information on this bridge, see John H. Hendricks' blog trains and trails of nassau county, fla for May 31, 2013. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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